Need opinions on form design

  • Thread starter Adrienne Boswell
  • Start date

A

Adrienne Boswell

I need opinions so I can convince my client that what he wants is the
wrong thing. There is a sign up form, and if the user has a business
card from the referring agent, then the person should put the agent's id
number in the form.

I think that information should be put at the end of the form, not the
beginning. I think that asking for a referring agent id might be
confusing, especially if the user does not have an agent's business card.
But, my client says that the agents want that field first.

-- Form A --
Name:
Address:
Referring Agent:

or

-- Form B --
Referring Agent:
Name:
Address:
 
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D

Denis McMahon

I need opinions so I can convince my client that what he wants is the
wrong thing.

Ask your client if he'd prefer potential customers who don't have an
agent id available to (a) complete the form, or (b) go to a competing
provider?

Ask your client which is more important: (a) getting the potential
customer details regardless of whether they have an agent id or not, or
(b) getting the agent id if the customer has one?

If you do put the id field first, you should default the field value to
something like "not available". In fact this may be good idea regardless
of where it is in the layout. Or use either the legend or a title
attribute to make it clear that the agent id is optional data.

Scenarios / Outcomes:

Visitor has an agent id / enters id and stays on site

Visitor has an agent id / doesn't enter id and stays on site

Visitor has an agent id / goes off site

Visitor doesn't have an agent id / stays on site

Visitor doesn't have an agent id / goes off site

Emphasise to your client that if potential customers don't have an agent
id and perceive that they need one to complete the form, then they are
likely to seek an alternative source of whatever service or product your
client is offering rather than purchase it from your client.

It is not a case of what you or your client or the agents think is best,
what matters is how visitors to the page, whether they have an agent id
or not, perceive the requirement. The wording associated with the field
is perhaps more important in this respect than where it appears on the
form.

If you have already been in contact with one of our agents and know their
id, please enter it here: []
 
J

Jukka K. Korpela

I need opinions so I can convince my client that what he wants is the
wrong thing.

Opinions seldom change anyone else's opinions. Occasionally, rational
arguments might. More often, you need arguments that directly relate to
the other person's interests and values.
There is a sign up form, and if the user has a business
card from the referring agent, then the person should put the agent's id
number in the form.

Sounds like a common business requirement.
I think that information should be put at the end of the form, not the
beginning.

Sounds like common sense.
I think that asking for a referring agent id might be
confusing, especially if the user does not have an agent's business card.
But, my client says that the agents want that field first.

That's understandable because that information matters to him. There are
two plausible explanations to his position: People think that what comes
first, matters most. (A common prejudice/fallacy/assumption.) And he
thinks that if it comes last, people will too often omit it, because
they have already provided some data and don't want to spend time with
anything extra. This is also the risk with any indication that says that
this field, unlike the two other fields, is not obligatory.

So I would say that it is a business decision. If the client thinks that
it is so important to avoid lack of referring agent information that he
can afford some lost sign ups, his requirement is not irrational.

Normally, of course, obligatory fields should come first, clearly
indicated as required and made required with HTML5 attribute and/or
JavaScript (in addition to server-side checks of course), and optional
fields should appear as noticeably optional (e.g., by the lack of an "*"
that indicates required field). But business considerations may require
deviation from normal principles.

As a compromise, you could suggest that the referring agent be placed
last and marked as optional, but so that if the user tries to submit the
form without filling that field, a polite prompt asks him whether he has
such information to provide (and lets him proceed without providing it,
but requires a non-default button to be clicked for that). Ideally, this
prompt should suggest why the information should be provided, when
available, from the user's point of view, i.e. what the user gains by
giving it. (Often, there is no such reason, so don't try too hard to
provide one.)
 
D

dorayme

Adrienne Boswell said:
I need opinions so I can convince my client that what he wants is the
wrong thing. There is a sign up form, and if the user has a business
card from the referring agent, then the person should put the agent's id
number in the form.

I think that information should be put at the end of the form, not the
beginning. I think that asking for a referring agent id might be
confusing, especially if the user does not have an agent's business card.
But, my client says that the agents want that field first.

Sounds like you will need to convince the agents too!

Make life easy for yourself. It would not confuse if you word the
first question(s) in such a way that asks if the user has contacted an
agent and if so, has he or she got his ID.
 
R

Ray_Net

I need opinions so I can convince my client that what he wants is the
wrong thing. There is a sign up form, and if the user has a business
card from the referring agent, then the person should put the agent's id
number in the form.

I think that information should be put at the end of the form, not the
beginning. I think that asking for a referring agent id might be
confusing, especially if the user does not have an agent's business card.
But, my client says that the agents want that field first.

-- Form A --
Name:
Address:
Referring Agent:

or

-- Form B --
Referring Agent:
Name:
Address:

You may put the AgentID optional zone(s) at the beginning of the form.
But put at the end of the form 2 submit buttons labelled:
-"I have an Agent"
-"I don't have an Agent"

and check if the end-user click on "I have an Agent" that the zones are not NUL nor
<spaces>
 
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A

Adrienne Boswell

Adrienne Boswell said:
I need opinions so I can convince my client that what he wants is the
wrong thing. There is a sign up form, and if the user has a business
card from the referring agent, then the person should put the agent's
id number in the form.

I think that information should be put at the end of the form, not the
beginning. I think that asking for a referring agent id might be
confusing, especially if the user does not have an agent's business
card. But, my client says that the agents want that field first.

-- Form A --
Name:
Address:
Referring Agent:

or

-- Form B --
Referring Agent:
Name:
Address:

Well, I took a little bit of everyone's advice, and want to thank everyone
for their input.

Here's what I did:

<fieldset><legend>Referring Agent Information</legend>
Referring Agent: <input type="text" placeholder="Agent ID#"
name="refererid">
<p>If you do not have this information, please leave it blank. If an agent
gave you a card, the information will be on the card. You may also <a
href="browse.php" target="new">browse the list of agents</a>.</p>
</fieldset>
<fieldset><legend>Your Contact Information - * Indicates required field
</legend>
* Name: .....
</fieldset>

(Using pseudo markup for brevity)
 
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